Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Running Against the Odds

I am not an advocate of gambling associated with professional horse racing, but I have always been intrigued by the sport. It is referred to as “the fastest two minutes in sports.”

Every year, horse breeders from the United Sates and around the world compete in America’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

The U.S. Triple Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. In order to be the champion you have to win all three races in a single season. Every horse owner, trainer, and jockey will do whatever they can to increase their horse’s chance of winning the Triple Crown.

In horse racing, an individual, who is better known as a handicapper must carefully analyze each horse to predict a winner. This method of analysis is called handicapping. It is determined according to the horse’s competition, winning history, the racetrack conditions, and is carried out in advance of every race.

The horses have an obvious advantage over people. They are unable to know their predicted odds or hear what the experts are saying. Racehorses have only been trained to run and ultimately win in the process. When a racehorse is running in a race their eyes are clearly focused ahead.

You and I, unlike a racehorse, tend to allow our lives to be dictated by other people instead of by God. People are limited with their knowledge of what is best for us. But God is not. He always knows best.

We have to shake off every distraction that comes our way because those distractions can hinder us from running the specific race God has chosen.

The end of Hebrews 12:1 says,

“... let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, ...” (NIV).

Recently, I learned about a Texas-bred racehorse named Assault. He was the Triple Crown champion in 1946. When Assault was a foal, he accidentally became injured by stepping on a stake. As a result of the injury, his right front hoof was deformed.

He was tagged with the nickname “the Clubfooted Comet” because of the awkward way he walked and galloped. Assault’s athletic ability was not seen until he ran. When he ran he was an amazing spectacle.

In 1945, as a juvenile, Assault ran twelfth in his first career race and only won two of nine races. Assault did not reveal his true racing qualities until the following year. On May 4, 1946, Assault entered the Kentucky Derby as a considerable outsider but won by eight lengths. In the Preakness Stakes a week later, he won the race by a neck. Then, on June 1st of the same year, Assault became the seventh Triple Crown champion when he won the Belmont Stakes by three lengths.         

Like Assault, we may not appear to be anything great at the moment; however, that doesn’t mean we are destined for an average life. What will set us apart is our ability to keep pressing on despite the odds.

We can be observant to the problems around us, but not dwell on them. Our focus has to be on Jesus and the knowledge that we are victorious through Him (See 1 Corinthians 15:57).

Paul was a man of great faith and ended his race strong to the finish (See 2 Timothy 4:7). Along the way, Paul encountered many hardships and was honest when he said,

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance” (Romans 5:3, NLT).

There is an inner drive within a racehorse that propels them to run. The Spirit of God also propels us to run when we feel like quitting. Regardless of the odds or how difficult the race becomes, our life will continue on unless we stop running. So we must keep running until our race is complete.

Copyright © Byron Bohnert, used with permission.

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